Review | Written and photographed by Nathan Mattise
My Thursday night started out as a real drag. There was a concert scheduled in Syracuse I was really looking forward to (we don’t get bands like The Handsome Furs coming through every week). We showed up right when doors opened but were met with some bad news from guy out front.
“Handsome Furs had to cancel tonight.”
Apparently they got sick after their show in Rochester the night before…food poisoning ironically. At this point it was about 8:30 p.m. and since we weren’t going to spend our money rocking it was time to shift focus to the other area college kids spend money on (food AND beverage). The only problem is that a majority of the CNY diners close at or before 9 p.m. on a Thursday. The only answer was a short trip to Baldwinsville for The B’Ville Diner, the only closest 24/7 diner I know of.The B’Ville Diner is a locale that is sought out not stumbled upon (unless of course you live in Baldwinsville). Coming from the south requires you to drive through seeming nowheresville on 690-North and afterwards down a long, wooded area lined road until you reach the “commercial” area of Baldwinsville. At night there’s a particularly strong lost vibe if you’ve never taken the trip before. Trust your directions, go over the multi-colored bridge and your dining experience awaits at the next right.
The B’Ville Diner sign greets you on an otherwise unassuming building (clearly my camera doesn’t deal with neon well so here’s a daytime photo of the sign courtesy of Roadfood.com). The inside (shown above) is cool enough. It’s that Johnny Rockets style of modern take on a ’50s diner decor. They have the standard Dean and Monroe photos on the wall, race flag checkers abound and jukeboxes accessible at each table (though it’s $1.00 for two plays, c’mon). The place is rather large though and from my experiences (never eating there without other diners around) you can always get some privacy if you need to chat over tea.
As is probably the case with any 24hr establishment, the waitstaff is hit or miss. There are a lot of variables that go into it (how their day has been up to this point, how welcoming and friendly you are as a customer, etc.) but on this particular night our waiter was spot on. We wanted to just chat and be helped on an as-needed basis and he definitely obliged. When we later switched gears and wanted to be more friendly he was quick to let one of my colleague know just how weird his B’Ville Burger / Bagel with cream cheese order was and how he’d never finish that much food (the waiter even bet him a pepper shaker after he finished the bagel and was doing well with the burger. Naturally my buddy had to hold the plate up for bragging rights from across the room immediately after finishing). It was just enough service so I felt catered to and the playful factor was exactly what I was looking for from evening waitstaff.
The food was also excellent. I went with their version of the breakfast special (to the right) called The Old Tradition for just $5.19. I’m not sure whose tradition it is, but I really liked their unique substitution of biscuits with sausage gravy instead of pancakes, a muffin, french toast or regular toast. The biscuits were just firm enough so that they didn’t sog completely under the heavy gravy and the inside was delightfully warm and fluffy. The gravy was fantastic (creamy with bits of sausage) and I even used them to doll up some otherwise pedestrian homefries (they didn’t know if they wanted to be crispy or soft home fries. They certainly didn’t want to be seasoned). The combo came with two sausage links and a large egg done however you liked as well. It was filling and a steal at the price.
The Final Tab
Pros: Cheap, delicious and filling meal options; 24/7 diner; ideal waitstaff (at least late night)
Cons: Diner is out of the way (and potentially a tedious trip); interior decor is a bit cheesy
Four out of Five (Pancakes with sides | Some days you’ll seek it out)